Thursday, October 16, 2014

Creative Ways to Save Money on Jewelry Making

Do you make your own jewelry? When I was a little girl I loved to put beads on the tips of feathers I found. My mother would then put ear wires on them to make earrings. I was way too young to wear them though, and heaven only knows what she did with them. I am not sure if I even had pierced ears at the time.

Later, as an adolescent, I made a few things by stringing seed beads (I actually still have one or two of those items around someplace). As an adult, I started making jewelry again, but found myself working with very little budget most of the time, which meant a limited supply of tools and supplies.

I started collecting costume jewelry and beaded necklaces from people clearing out their clutter, as well as salvaging findings and beads from thrift stores. Repurposing old items is a great way for crafters on a budget to get material for new projects, and it saves stuff that isn't biodegradable from ending up in landfills.

Naturally, I jumped at the opportunity to create an article for Helium on how to save on Jewelry Making supplies back in June of 2010.

Simple Ways to Save on Jewelry Making Supplies

Jewelry making is a pastime that can quickly lead to an obsession.  Even with simple beaded jewelry there are so many possibilities and so many beautiful things you can create that once you start with the craft you will want to buy everything you see in order to make jewelry from it.
Buying jewelry making supplies can add up, especially when it comes to tools, semiprecious stones, gems and precious metals.  The hobbyist could easily spend a fortune on all manner of items they may never even use.  Below are five simple ideas for saving money on jewelry-making supplies.
Be Selective
It’s really hard to resist the wealth of beautiful beads and stones you find in stores and at gem shows but you have to ask yourself are you buying an item for its appeal or because you are definitely going to make something with it.  Also, if your jewelry making activities are for selling you have to ask yourself if the item is something that is going to be cost effective for you.
If you buy a large amber bead, will you be able to slice it down into smaller discs and make multiple things from it?  If you buy a lovely jasper pendant will you create a special necklace or present it on a simple chain or chording?  When looking at items you have to ask yourself if you have the necessary tools and equipment today to turn the items into finished jewelry pieces.
A strand of jasper beads that are each between a half inch to an inch will go a lot further than a pendant when you are making jewelry to sell at craft shows and you can keep two or three beads from the strand to make something special for yourself.
Clearance Sales and Coupons
Many craft stores and even bog box stores like Walmart have lovely items for jewelry making that they occasionally put on clearance at great prices.  Some of the major craft retailers such as Michael’s, Joann and Hobby Lobby also offer coupon specials of forty or fifty percent off of one item and sometimes will offer a percentage off an entire purchase. 
Shopping online and subscribing to newsletters from craft and jewelry making supply retailers is not only a way to save, it is often a way to access more variety and retailers will keep you informed of new products and special offers.
Discount Stores
One might not think of places like Big Lots or Dollar Tree when thinking of jewelry making supplies but on occasion each of these stores carries beads, tools and other findings suitable for at least creating attractive beaded necklaces, bracelets and especially earrings and with prices often being a dollar or less, hobbyists can stock up and not break the bank.
These stores are also a good source of fiber supplies such as yarns and ribbons which can also be used to make jewelry.  Not all locations of the same retailer carry the exact same selection of merchandise so be sure to check around at different stores.
Thrift Stores and Yard Sales
Shopping at thrift stores is a great way to locate interesting beads and findings for making jewelry.  If you visit often and in different parts of town, or when traveling to other cities, you can find a treasure trove of lovely, unique and unusual items waiting to be reinvented and given new life at a fraction of what it would cost for new items at the craft store or gem show.
Yard and garage sales are another great way to find items that can be reworked into attractive pieces of jewelry at very little cost.  Quite often the person holding the sale just wants to get rid of their clutter and will sell old jewelry in bags or boxes for just a few dollars.
For hobbyist jewelers, buying jewelry making supplies at the thrift store is ideal because the investment is never more than a few dollars per piece so you can experiment without having to worry about cost.
Sometimes there are great jewelry making supplies right in your own home.  Many people have boxes or even drawers full of old costume jewelry and trendy items that are no longer in fashion that could easily be taken loose and used to create new jewelry pieces.
Friends and family members are a great source for reusable items as well and when you let them know they should talk to you before getting rid of anything you will find yourself showered with all manner of materials on a regular basis, especially if you agree to make something for the person giving you all of their old stuff.
No matter what kind of jewelry you are making, there are always deals to be had on supplies if you take the time to hunt them out.  Being selective and keeping supplies organized so that you know what you have will help insure that you get the most out of what you have regardless of the cost.

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